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NY man sentenced to 4+ years in prison for lottery scam targeting elderly

Scam AlertScam Alert: NY man sentenced to 4+ years in prison for lottery scam targeting elderly
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BOSTON, Mass. — A New York man who ran a bogus lottery scam, in which elderly people were told they won millions but would have to pay taxes in advance to receive a payout, has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison and ordered to repay more than $733,000.

Wilder Vladimir Merelan, 29, of West Hempsted, New York, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison by Judge Mark L. Wolf in U.S. District Court in Boston, according to the U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz's office. Wolf also ordered him to pay a total of $733,999 in restitution.

Merelan pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a scheme that preyed on the elderly.

According to prosecutors, Merelan from 2012 through 2015 worked in conjunction with several Jamaican co-conspirators to target victims with a fraudulent lottery scheme.

During that time, they collected $830,000 from a total of 16 victims, who were between ages 69 and 91. One of the victims was a man from Massachusetts.

Merelan pretended to be a "sub agent" with the Internal Revenue Service. The people he contacted were told they had won a multimillion-dollar lottery prize, but before they would be able to collect it, they would have to pay the taxes up front.

People would send him money, and he would take a cut and send the remainder to his co-conspirators. Some of the funds were stopped by banks or intercepted by the U.S. Postal Service, but Merelan received $733,999 over that time.

According to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission, winners do not have to pay taxes in advance to receive a prize. Taxes are deducted from any prize over $600 at the payout. Twenty-five percent is automatically deducted and sent to the IRS, and 5 percent to the state of Massachusetts.

The case was investigated jointly by Ortiz's office and the Boston offices of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

MassLive, Lottery Post Staff

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26 comments. Last comment 3 months ago by American Indian.
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Simpsonville
United States
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January 22, 2015
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Posted: August 11, 2016, 2:15 pm - IP Logged

I only wish he would get probation under one condition:  He repay all $733,999.  Then if he cannot, off to prison he goes.

 

My late Dad was a victim of lottery scams so I feel their pain.

    Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

    United States
    Member #162631
    January 7, 2015
    503 Posts
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    Posted: August 11, 2016, 2:53 pm - IP Logged

    I only wish he would get probation under one condition:  He repay all $733,999.  Then if he cannot, off to prison he goes.

     

    My late Dad was a victim of lottery scams so I feel their pain.

    .

    Mr. BlueDog101,

    I'm really, truly sorry for what's happened to your late Dad.
    Those doggone scammers don't give a darn about anyone.  In this time, in our world,

    when things warrant special attention to the needs of others, here come these rats, not only ripping everyone off,
    but seeking out every opportunity possible, to do so.

    Every opportunity known to man to come up with, to take advantage of another human being.
    There's not a darn thing to smile about anymore.

    This is why I say that people have turned me off from people.
    I have a cat, not very much unlike the one in my avatar above, but I often envy him, because he's an animal.
    He doesn't need all the things us humans 'need'.

    I AGREE with you, on the guy in the article, repay or do prison time.

    Mr. Groppo

    • Don't chase the numbers you play.
    • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
    • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
              (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
      LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
      Green Bay
      United States
      Member #169391
      October 15, 2015
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      Posted: August 11, 2016, 3:01 pm - IP Logged

      I only wish he would get probation under one condition:  He repay all $733,999.  Then if he cannot, off to prison he goes.

       

      My late Dad was a victim of lottery scams so I feel their pain.

      WHAT!  Did I misread this article?  The guy who raped those people out of their money should not serve jail time if he repays the victims?  Is that what you're saying Bleudog?

      Never give up.  Banana

        zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
        South Carolina
        United States
        Member #77167
        July 15, 2009
        555 Posts
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        Posted: August 11, 2016, 4:02 pm - IP Logged

        I only wish he would get probation under one condition:  He repay all $733,999.  Then if he cannot, off to prison he goes.

         

        My late Dad was a victim of lottery scams so I feel their pain.

        "has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison and ordered to repay more than $733,000"  no probation.

          music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
          Happy California
          United States
          Member #157856
          August 2, 2014
          1513 Posts
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          Posted: August 11, 2016, 5:20 pm - IP Logged

           I thank God for Judges like Judge Mark L. Wolf in U.S. District Court in Boston and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. This is where are taxes are being used to protect the innocent. 

           Merelan better use his time in prison to learn a productive life trade and occupation.

           Every lottery winner must learn that there are con-men and con-women who want your winnings. Keep your gifts, loans, purchases on a business-like level. Control your greed and say "NO" often or hire someone who will say NO.

           I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

           Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

            helpmewin's avatar - dandy
            u$a
            United States
            Member #106665
            February 22, 2011
            19794 Posts
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            Posted: August 11, 2016, 5:55 pm - IP Logged

            How the Ole people get Scammed i thought with age comes wisdom.Thud

            Let it Snow Snowman

              music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
              Happy California
              United States
              Member #157856
              August 2, 2014
              1513 Posts
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              Posted: August 11, 2016, 6:13 pm - IP Logged

              How the Ole people get Scammed i thought with age comes wisdom.Thud

               I am guessing that Lottery Post has plenty of "Ole" people. 

               When you age your faculties deteriorate. Your muscles weaken and your brain loses its' power and cognitive abilities.

               Senior citizens develop Alzheimer's in stages. They have some good days and some bad days.

               I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

               Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

                helpmewin's avatar - dandy
                u$a
                United States
                Member #106665
                February 22, 2011
                19794 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: August 11, 2016, 6:24 pm - IP Logged

                 I am guessing that Lottery Post has plenty of "Ole" people. 

                 When you age your faculties deteriorate. Your muscles weaken and your brain loses its' power and cognitive abilities.

                 Senior citizens develop Alzheimer's in stages. They have some good days and some bad days.

                Well i sure hope they are not driving. The post said ( between ages 69 and 91 )

                Let it Snow Snowman

                  mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
                  JACKPOT HUNTER

                  United States
                  Member #141034
                  April 2, 2013
                  1408 Posts
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                  Posted: August 11, 2016, 6:39 pm - IP Logged

                  The judge must have gotten laid that morning because the sentence is way too short. Shame on you!

                  Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

                  Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                    mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
                    JACKPOT HUNTER

                    United States
                    Member #141034
                    April 2, 2013
                    1408 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: August 11, 2016, 6:43 pm - IP Logged

                    How the Ole people get Scammed i thought with age comes wisdom.Thud

                    A lot of them are lonely and very trusting.

                    Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

                    Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                      Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                      Zeta Reticuli Star System
                      United States
                      Member #30470
                      January 17, 2006
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                      Posted: August 11, 2016, 6:44 pm - IP Logged

                      The creep should have got 4 years per victim.

                      Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                      Lep

                      There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                        hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

                        United States
                        Member #52345
                        May 21, 2007
                        2659 Posts
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                        Posted: August 11, 2016, 7:44 pm - IP Logged

                        The creep should have got 4 years per victim.

                        Skeptical I see your 4 per victim and raise 10 yrs at hard labor

                          grwurston's avatar - Cute animals_Spider.jpg
                          Winning makes me smile.
                          bel air maryland
                          United States
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                          April 24, 2010
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                          Posted: August 11, 2016, 8:32 pm - IP Logged

                          The judge must have gotten laid that morning because the sentence is way too short. Shame on you!

                          You got that right...

                          Wilder Vladimir Merelan, 29, of West Hempsted, New York, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison by Judge Mark L. Wolf in U.S. District Court in Boston, according to the U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz's office. Wolf also ordered him to pay a total of $733,999 in restitution

                          According to the prior story...

                          Merelan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit tax and mail fraud.

                          The charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, plus 3 years of supervised release and a fine of at least $250,000.

                          Merelan is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 10.

                          Sounds like he got a really good deal.  Sad part is, his Jamaican co-conspirators very likely already have someone to take his place.

                          I would say the chances of his victims seeing any of that money is ZERO.

                          "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

                          The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

                          Don't just think outside the box, crush it.

                            TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
                            Brooklyn, NY
                            United States
                            Member #169723
                            October 29, 2015
                            877 Posts
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                            Posted: August 12, 2016, 4:35 am - IP Logged

                             I am guessing that Lottery Post has plenty of "Ole" people. 

                             When you age your faculties deteriorate. Your muscles weaken and your brain loses its' power and cognitive abilities.

                             Senior citizens develop Alzheimer's in stages. They have some good days and some bad days.

                            The banks need to take precautions to protect seniors.

                            Back in 1991, I needed to borrow $500 and went with my dad (who was 67 at the time) to the bank to withdraw the money from his bank account.

                            When he presented the withdrawal slip to the teller, I remember her asking him if he had received a call asking him to pay money up front to win a prize or for any kind of investment opportunity.

                            That was 25 years ago! Why can't the banks do that now?

                            When a senior withdraws over a certain amount, they should have to ask those questions (or similar) to protect seniors! They worked hard all their lives to save for retirement.

                            No one has the right to take that away from them!

                            The Meatman

                            “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

                            Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot